Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Andrew!

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Andrew joined Watsi’s storytelling team as one of our earliest volunteers. When he’s not working at his San Francisco tech job, he enjoys baking, intense scrabble games, and traveling. Last month he ventured to Kabaret, Haiti where he brought soccer equipment to an area where hundreds of children play with only one ball.

“I was blown away by such a simple, elegant solution to a global problem,” Andrew told us about Watsi. “I work in the tech industry, and have been interested in global health issues since I was a teenager, so seeing the intersection between the two to benefit patients around the world was quite breathtaking.”

“I love that Watsi volunteers get to immediately see their impact. When I see that meter reach 100% for a patient whose profile I helped write, there’s a sense of personal accomplishment, but more so - there’s this awesome feeling that I’m participating with so many people around the world to make a huge difference in someone’s life.”

Meet the rest of our volunteers and find out how to get involved here!

This is Urmila

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She’s part of the team who cares for Watsi patients at Possible, our medical partner in Nepal.

Urmila’s mother died when she was ten years old. “She got sick and passed away because she didn’t have access to a good doctor,” Urmila says. Now, Urmila runs a 24-hour clinic at a hospital that has treated 225 Watsi patients.

Meet her patients and help Possible get to 226 today!

What Uplifting News Did

This is Wai Linn. He’s a one-year-old boy from Burma who can see for the first time thanks to nine donors who funded his $2,000 procedure. 

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Wai Linn’s story was posted to /r/UpliftingNews last month. What happened next blew us away. The story was upvoted to the front page of reddit where it was seen by more than a million people on Imgur. Our team did an AMA. And Huffington Post even wrote a piece about the mob of internet do-gooders rallying around Wai Linn’s story. 

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Then, /r/UpliftingNews launched a Watsi campaign. So far, the campaign has raised over $13k to fund healthcare for 95 people. We’ve almost run out of patients to fund healthcare for on the website…twice. The campaign is still going if you want to get involved.

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Today, we’re excited to share a few of the updates we’ve received on patients whose healthcare the /r/UpliftingNews community funded (donors to all patients receive direct email updates).

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Below is Eva. She’s an entrepreneur from Guatemala who struggled for years to earn enough money to receive treatment for early onset arthritis . Saving money was impossible. Her condition was so painful she couldn’t work.

We posted Eva’s profile on Watsi during the beginning of the /r/UpliftingNews campaign. In a few hours, she’d raised enough money to finally receive treatment and get back to living her life.

"Eva is doing amazing," her doctor Peter Rohloff, a Harvard global health professor, tells us now. "She’s no longer in any pain. We’re so grateful for the support."
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Meet Deepak from Nepal. After suffering a double fracture from falling over and landing heavily on his hands, Deepak was unable to move his swollen, painful arm when we posted him on Watsi.

Deepak enjoys studying, he is in sixth grade and loves English. But because of his injury, he couldn’t go to school. 

A $200 cast was all that stood in the way of Deepak returning to a normal life. Everyone in his family works hard as farmers and tailors to make ends meet, but surgery for Deepak was outside their financial reach. 

Thanks to the /r/UpliftingNews community, Deepak raised the money he needed to regain the use of his arm. “Deepak’s parents are relieved,” his doctors tell us. “They were about to sell their cattle to pay for his treatment. They thank the donors.”

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Rehma is a four-month-old baby girl. She was born to loving parents in Uganda and promptly diagnosed with hydrocephalus, an abnormal build-up of fluid in her brain.

Hydrocephalus is life-threatening. Because of the massive swelling and pressure on her brain, Rehma was at risk for blindness, brain damage, and death. 

We posted Rehma’s story on Watsi. Within hours, the /r/UpliftingNews community funded a procedure to save her life. Today, Rehma is sleeping, eating, breathing, and growing like a normal baby should.


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Thank you, /r/UpliftingNews. We hope you know what an incredible impact you’ve made.

You can still help Uplifting News spread the health by donating to fund healthcare for a patient through their campaign!

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Erika!

Meet Erika! When she’s not taking classes at UC Davis or studying for the MCAT, she helps out Watsi as a storytelling volunteer. After graduation this December, she’ll be moving to Harare, Zimbabwe for six months to research pediatric HIV/AIDS prevention. She hopes to go to medical school so that she can provide care to underserved populations.

“The stories about people who don’t receive treatment for years after the incident occurred really hit me hard,” she says. “These injuries may have been easily fixed if the patient had the means of getting to a hospital or paying for the treatment. But instead they have been living for years without treatment. As someone who’s had my fair share of bone breaks, I can’t imagine how life would have been without the casts and braces to make them better!”

We’re so thankful for our awesome volunteers, learn how to get involved here.

Meet Oscar!

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Oscar hails from sunny Miami, Florida and comes to Watsi from Twilio and NASA, where he wrote code that currently runs on the Mars rover in space. Oscar studied math and computer science at the University of Miami. He has devoted much of the past six years to teaching classes at Hackbright, Girls Who Code, and Mission Bit. In his free time, Oscar reads books on how to glitch video games.

You can follow Oscar on Twitter @oms1005.
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Thank you, Julie!

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618 patient profiles written, 1048 updates sent to donors, and 6 months helping us put patient stories first. Today we’re saying goodbye to one of our favorite faces in the Watsi office, Julie Kent.

Julie has been Watsi’s head volunteer content editor since March. This fall, she’ll be starting a Master’s of Social Entrepreneurship at Hult International Business School. Julie’s impact at Watsi has been enormous. Last month alone, she helped make it possible for us to support the most patients ever this year. She’s trained all of our current editors and laid the foundation for what we hope will become one of the best volunteer content creation teams on the planet.

Thanks for everything, Julie. We’ll miss you!
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Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Carlyn!

Meet Carlyn, a storytelling volunteer and an educational philanthropist working to increase educational opportunities in rural Tanzania. In her day job she’s an elementary school teacher who “loves bringing  global experiences into the classroom, children are so open-minded to learning about other cultures.”

Carlyn believes “education is the pathway to eradicating poverty. With an educated population and dynamic organizations like Watsi working to provide healthcare to those who cannot afford it, the possibilities are endless!”

"I’m touched by the profiles of young, expectant females, especially those in their late teens and early twenties. Far too many girls are forced to give up their educational opportunities to be married and have a family. As an educator and a female, I am overwhelmed by this inequality.”

Carlyn’s words to live by: “Nothing is absolute, everything changes, everything moves, everything revolutionizes, all flies and goes” - Frida Kahlo

Meet the rest of our volunteers and find out how to bring your talents to the Watsi team here!

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Subuddh!

Subuddh is one of our local San Francisco-based storytelling volunteers! He chose to volunteer with Watsi because, “in much of the world, life hangs on a thread. One illness, not even to you but a member of the family, can mean the end of education, career prospects, hopes, and dreams. Watsi’s mission helps break this cycle. I am happy, proud, and honored to be contributing.”

Subuddh’s favorite patient was, “a young fellow who broke his arm and would have missed his exams if his bone was not set properly. Helping him heal, sit for his exams, and get on with his life was the least I could do!”

We asked him where he sees the future of healthcare. He responded, “one day good healthcare will be free for all and readily accessible, everywhere in the world. We will consider it not much different than breathing air. No one will have to worry about not being able to afford treatment.”

Subuddh’s favorite words: “Be the change you want to see in this world”

Meet more of our volunteers here.

Zenefits funded healthcare for 9 patients in 5 countries!

Every week, a new company in tech inspires us. Earlier this month, Zenefits approached us about running a campaign to fund healthcare for patients on Watsi. Today, we’re excited to share that in 7 days, Zenefits employees raised $540 to fund healthcare for 9 patients in 5 countries.

Help Zenefits spread the health by supporting a patient on Watsi today!

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Sheila!

Sheila is a student at UC Davis studying Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. In her free time she likes to hike, play piano, and listen to old vinyls. She started working with Watsi because she believes, “it’s important to invest time in projects that build a global community. Just because we can’t control where we are born doesn’t mean that shouldn’t have control over our quality of health. Watsi does an amazing job of helping people realize that.”

Some of Sheila’s favorite stories come from older patients in Cambodia that suffer from cataracts. She says, “these stories really stop me in my tracks because so much of their lives are put on hold for a relatively inexpensive procedure, and each of the patients is only concerned with how their illness is affecting their children and grandchildren.”

Her favorite quote: “Raise your words, not your voice!”

Find out more about our diverse volunteer team here.